Some may remember the movie ‘Witness’ released lo these years ago that tells the story of an Amish boy who witnesses a murder. The title character is a police officer who is determined to have the boy testify until he realizes that the killers have learned the boy’s identity and are trying to kill him. The movie climaxes in what amounts to a standoff between the police officer and the corrupt official at the center of the conspiracy. As the movie ends, the audience is left with the sense that justice will prevail although the outcome is not revealed.
What does it mean to be a witness? On one hand we are talking about a Hollywood production, but the undeniable truth is: there is a cost associated with sharing what we believe, what we know or what we have seen. Christians have a God-given responsibility to share their faith no matter how many eye rolls or pitying glances they receive. Can I get a witness?
Far too often we forget that throughout history people of faith have chosen death rather than deny what they know to be true – God is faithful. Even in 2011, Christians the world over continue to witness for the faith knowing that doing so may amount to a death sentence choosing to be “absent from the body…present with the Lord.”2 Corinthians 5:8 * It follows then that the Greek word for witness is martyr – sobering but not surprising. Can I get a witness?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” Hebrews 12:1**
To whom is the writer of Hebrews referencing as the “great cloud of witnesses?” Hebrews 11:13 tells us that the faithful died without seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises, yet they believed - even death cannot silence their testimony. Can I get a witness?
One day we will join these witnesses adding our faith story to those who have gone before us and witness that while we don’t know all that awaits us in heaven, but we know that the One who promises is faithful. Can I get a witness?
“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." Revelation 14:13***
Can I get a witness?
** New International Version
*** New International Version